Ft. Lewis, escape and evasion training area.
Three large individuals, two very large and the other about two-thirds their size. When we first saw the individuals they were on the far side of the open meadow. I remember that there was a bright moon out because we could see features such as trees, and objects well enough to run without tripping. In fact we could see through some of the pines. That is where we saw the individuals.
At first we thought they were the capture team looking for us. They were back in the tree line when we first saw them. There was a road not far behind them and we could see what we thought were soldiers moving very slowly (not forward or back at first). When they breached the tree line, Mickles decided that we had enough space between us and them to escape if they were part of the capture team. He thought it might be some like ourselves who escaped early and got out of the boundary area.
Mickles got up and started walking towards them and I followed. They were just silhouettes, but as we got closer Mickles waved at them, then they started moving towards us faster; not really running, just faster. Mickles called to them and they came faster without answering.
I have never heard of bears walking upright, and for sure not that fast but I didn’t know that much about bears. I did know that something wasn’t right and I was really scared. I really didn’t think they were bears or people; I don’t know why. I just know I have never been that terrified and so was Mickles. We ran as fast as we could without looking back, but felt they were gaining on us. I told Mickles to follow me and dove under and crawled up under a large low pine tree. We just lay there. We could feel their presence but didn’t dare move.
That is when we smelled this weird odor. I am sorry I can’t describe it to you. It was strong is all I can say. We stayed there for probably fifteen minutes and then I said let’s head for the road and we did. By that time the maneuver was over and we saw a bus pull up by the compound. We ran as fast as we could and caught the bus. We never looked back, except in memory.
I have hunted all over the U.S. from Colorado, to Illinois, to Texas. What we saw the silhouettes of and smelled was not humans, or any bear.
Private Mickles and myself had left the training area earlier than we were supposed to and were staying out of the training area watching the escape and evasion activity.
I have thought about the incident many times in the past. At the time neither Mickles or myself had ever heard of bigfoot; we were in trouble for leaving the area early, so we had other things on our minds. This is just for your information. I have no idea if it is useful or not.